Thirty contestants are in Calabar city, Cross River State for the first ever Miss Africa beauty pageant.
The contestants, who were received at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport by Governor Ben Ayade, would be participating in the pageant organised by the State Government.
Addressing newsmen, Governor Ben Ayade described the pageant as a new addition to the State’s vast tourism offerings.
According him, “the pageant is a warm embrace to Africa and more importantly, it is to create a platform to discuss the fate of Africans.”
“The Miss Africa Beauty Pageant is a platform for the expression of intellectuality, capacity, unity, strength, vitality and the energy Africa represents,” Governor Ayade said.
Wake-up call for Africa
He further described the event as “a showpiece to create an avenue “to celebrate the great splendour and beauty that God has given to Africa; the resilience in character and our abundant natural resources.
“My vision is to use this as a wake-up call for Africa. It is time for us to begin to galvanise and maximally harness our great potentials for the benefit and wellbeing of our people,” he stated.
The Governor, who just returned from the United Nations Conference of Parties COP 22 in Marrakech, said that the theme of the Miss Africa beauty pageant was consistent with the just concluded summit in Morocco.
“One the key issues we focus on as a State is the conservation of our forest. I just came back from Morocco where the whole world focused on climate change, so, it is consistent with this year’s carnival theme and the maiden edition of the Miss Africa beauty pageant.
“The world discussed the issues of adaptation, conservation and mitigation, which are the critical areas of focus for our administration. That was why we started by setting up the Green Police to make our efforts to conserve Nigeria’s largest reserve of rainforest more effective,” the Governor explained.
“There is deliberate effort to ensure that those whose livelihoods have been dislocated from continuous dependence on the forest will now have alternative platform to express their yearnings and drive,” he stressed.
Some of the participants, Miss Chamata Chimeze Ubani representing Nigeria and Miss Annie Grace from Zimbabwe commended the Cross River State Government for creating a platform for African ladies to express themselves.